Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2017

Linguistics BA

Linguistics is the study of the capacity to use language. This includes phonetics and phonology (how sounds are produced and received), morphology (how words are built from smaller elements), syntax (how words are combined to form sentences), and semantics and pragmatics. The Linguistics BA focuses on these aspects; the Experimental Linguistics BSc focuses, additionally, on experimental methodologies for studying them.

Key information

UCAS code
3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2017
Applications per place
5 (2015 entry)*
Total intake
44 (2017 entry)*
* Figures relate to Linguistics subject area

Entry requirements

A levels

AAA-ABB. Experimental Linguistics BSc pathway: AAA-AAB
English Language, Mathematics or a science subject preferred. Experimental Linguistics pathway: at least one subject from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

34-38. Experimental Linguistics BSc pathway: 36-38.
A score of 16-18 points in three higher level subjects preferably to include English Language, Mathematics or a science subject, with no score lower than 5. Experimental Linguistics pathway: A score of 17-18 points in three higher level subjects including one from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Psychology with no score below 5.

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Edexcel Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF), or Edexcel Level 3 BTEC National Diploma (NQF) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction. Experimental Linguistics pathway: BTEC is not acceptable for entrance to this pathway.

Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with between 28 credits awarded with Merit and a minimum of 23 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit. Experimental Linguistics pathway: Access to HE Diploma is not acceptable for entrance to this pathway.

D3,D3,D3 - D3,M1,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects, preferrably including English Language, Science or Mathematics. Experimental Linguistics pathway: D3,D3,D3 - D3,D3,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects including one of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Psychology.

AAA-ABB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher - AB at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher), preferrably including English Language, Science or Mathematics at Advanced Higher. Experimental Linguistics pathway: AA-AAB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher to AA at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher) including one from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Psychology at Advanced Higher.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA-AAB or Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA-ABB.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a twelve-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see our website: UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Good (Advanced for GCSE/IGCSE)

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • Gain a broadly based training in linguistics together with the opportunity to explore other themes, such as language acquisition and language processing.
  • UCL is known worldwide for its teaching and research in linguistics; the work of our staff appears in internationally acclaimed journals and books and feedback from students in recent national surveys shows 96% were satisfied with the degree programme.
  • Our focus on small-group teaching helps develop a friendly and supportive atmosphere. LingSoc, the Linguistics student society, runs a mentoring scheme whereby second-year or final-year students support new students.
  • You will have access to extensive computer facilities and to a specialised on-site library in addition to the UCL Main Library.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Psychology and Language Sciences.

  • 74% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.


A short video with more information.

Subscribe to the StudyUCL YouTube channel to learn more about life and studying at UCL.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

In the first year your courses are all compulsory, providing a foundation in Linguistics and helping you assess where your own interests and strengths lie. The Experimental Linguistics BSc pathway also focuses on experimental methods to understand how language is acquired, processed and implemented in the brain.

In your second and third years you choose from a range of intermediate and advanced courses within a requirement to complete courses in the three core areas of: Semantics and Pragmatics, Phonetics and Phonology, and Syntax. You can also choose courses in psycholinguistics, including language acquisition.

Experimental Linguistics BSc students take fewer compulsory courses in phonetics and phonology, syntax, and semantics and pragmatics, and more courses in psycholinguistics (what representations and mechanisms are linked to process language), neurolinguistics (how those representations of mechanisms are implemented in the brain) and practical experience in research design and statistical data analysis.

In your final year, you will undertake a research project, involving a deep and sustained study of a subject in which you are especially interested.

You can also take optional courses offered outside Linguistics; for example, many students choose to take language courses taught by the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Compulsory modules

Core Issues in Linguistics
Introduction to Children's Language Development
Introduction To Generative Grammar
Introduction To Phonetics And Phonology
Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics

Students entering the Experimental Linguistics BSc will study:
Semantics and Pragmatics
Phonetics and Phonology
plus two introductory modules in general linguistics (core issues) and in research methods.

Optional modules

All first year modules are compulsory.

Compulsory modules

Two intermediate modules in each of the core areas of Linguistics:

Phonetics and Phonology
Semantics and Pragmatics

to the total value of 3.0 credits.

Students entering the Experimental Linguistics BSc pathway will take intermediate modules in two out of the three core areas of linguistics above and:
Language Acquisition
Research Methods

Optional modules

You will select 1.0 credit of further modules from a wide range of options. Some possible Linguistics options are listed below:

Animal Communication
Language Acquisition
Linguistics of Sign Language
Modern Foreign Language modules

All second year modules are compulsory for students on the Experimental Linguistics BSc pathway.

Compulsory modules

Long Essay/Project (1.0 credits)

Two modules each from two of the core areas of Linguistics (2.0 credits):

Semantics and Pragmatics

Please note Students on the Experimental Linguistics BSc pathway will take three modules from two of the core areas of Linguistics above and one module in experimental linguistics.

Optional modules

You will select 1.0 credit of further modules from a wide range of options. Some possible Linguistics options are listed below:

Language Acquisition
Linguistics of Sign Language
Modern Foreign Language modules
Philosophy of Language
Semantics-Pragmatic Development

Your learning

Teaching is mainly delivered through lectures, workshops and small-group teaching (tutorials in which you meet with a group of between five and 12 students and a staff member to discuss topics covered in the lecture) as well as a virtual learning environment. Some courses also involve workshops.


Each course is assessed and examined separately, often by a combination of essays, exercises and examinations. Your performance in a course is always assessed in the same academic year in which you take it.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Linguistics BA.


In addition to subject-specific skills, you will also acquire the analytical, investigative and study skills essential for most graduate careers, which could include law, computing, commerce and industry. Recent national surveys show that UCL Linguistics graduates have above average employment rates and starting salaries after graduation.

Many Linguistics graduates from UCL carry on with the subject at graduate level often with a view to pursuing an academic career. Linguistics connects with many other disciplines and a number of graduates go on to work in these areas, e.g. teaching languages, especially English as a first or foreign language, speech therapy, advertising or the media.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2012-2014) of this programme include:

  • National Management Trainee, London Local Government
  • Assistant Editor, Chambers & Partners
  • Graduate Trainee Financial Consultant, Willis Group
  • National Account Manager, Proctor & Gamble

*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012-2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers, UCL Advances and other entrepreneur societies here: Careers and skills.

Alumni view

Languages have always fascinated me. I had started studying linguistics in Hong Kong when I got an exchange opportunity at UCL Linguistics in my second year. I felt I could learn so much more at UCL, so decided to transfer to UCL to complete my undergraduate studies. Chun Wai Leung - Linguistics BA (2014)

Student view

I have always enjoyed studying both the arts and sciences, and to me, linguistics is the right balance of both. I wanted to come to UCL initially because of the impressive list of alumni, but of course, the academic excellence and great reputation of UCL drew me even more. Coco Wong - Linguistics BA (Third Year)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2016/17 academic year.

UK/EU students
£9,000 (2016/17)
Overseas students
£16,130 (2016/17)

Fees for students entering UCL in September 2017 (i.e. for the 2017/2018 academic year) will be set in the summer of 2016 and published on the UCL Current Students website. Fees advertised by UCL are for the first year of the programme. UK/EU undergraduate fees are capped, but fees for other students may be subject to increase in future years of study by between 3-5%.


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Application and next steps

Your application

We are looking for students with strong analytical skills who are fascinated by languages and intrigued by how the human mind works. We place particular emphasis on your personal statement and will be looking for clarity of expression and evidence that you have considered the subject in detail.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2017


If you are likely to meet our entry requirements you will be asked to complete a questionnaire. UK residents may then be invited to an applicant open day where you will find out about the department and programme, attend a lecture or tutorial and join a tour of UCL.

If you live outside the UK we may contact you by letter, email or telephone to ensure that both we and you are able to make an informed choice about your application.

We value the experience that candidates who do not have standard qualifications may bring, and encourage you to contact us if you are interested in the programme.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students

Page last modified on 13 May 2016 at 16:56 by UCL Publications & Marketing Services. Please contact us for content updates.